Wednesday 6 January 2016

A Night at the Pulse Feast Hosted by Michael Smith

Tonight I was invited to an event at the Design Exchange, the Pulse Feast which was hosted by Food Network chef, Michael Smith

No, this wasn't a disco event. Pulse is a food group. According to the Pulse Canada website, Pulse are part of the legume family, but the term “pulse” refers only to the dried seed. Dried peas, edible beans, lentils and chickpeas are the most common varieties of pulses. Pulses are very high in protein and fibre, and are low in fat. Like their cousins in the legume family, pulses are nitrogen-fixing crops that improve the environmental sustainability of annual cropping systems.

This is right up my alley, as I have blood glucose and am staying away from wheat products and getting more into beans, which do not spike sugar levels.

I always called them beans and wondered if this was a new promotional term Canada is using to promote them, but for a thousand years, the food group has been know as pulse. In fact, this event wasn't just to promote the pulse food group to Canadians, but today the Pulse Feast is being celebrated around the world with over 100 events internationally.

I didn't know this but Canada is the worlds leading exporter of peas and lentils and our exports account for 35% of the worlds Pulse trade. Wow!

Michael Smith said this is not just a food fad that will come and go. The United Nations  has proclaimed 2016 as The International Year of Pulses. Above I am holding a pulse plant. I am unsure of the variety but I saw a woman leave after words with one.

Drinks were served throughout the night, which was a nice touch.

Hors d'oeures were served. This lentil dish was delicious. I also had two fabulous lentil sliders.

The room had two bars and four food stations. I had the delicious navy bean crab cake with braised red cabbage.


At this station, I had the Indian chickpea stuffed crepe with curry chicken salad, golden raisins and cashews.


My favorite of the night, and I wish I had started here when hungry as I would have been back for more, was the braised short-ribs with lentil mushroom stew and peppercorn sauce. I also had a delicious pan seared scallop with red lentil risotto, smoked bacon and salsa verde. I think I'm starting to dig lentils!

I forgot to take a picture of the last sign but had this excellent quiche and a terrific Daal dish, which is interesting as I'm not a big fan of curry.

In the room tonight were pulse farmers from four provinces, Pulse promotional representatives from each provinces, food bloggers, food writers and members of Pulse Canada. Michael Smith took the stage and gave a great speech. He is Pulse Canada's International Year of the Pulse (IYP) ambassador. It is clear that he is passionate about the food group. In his speech he called them the rock star of the food world saying they are nutritional superstars, affordable and easy to prepare, and they are sustainably grown, meaning they are good for the planet too.


There was a free pulse market, with many varieties of pulse to dig into on the way out.


I grabbed a bag of Alberta black beans and two kinds of lentils.


We received grab bags as we left. Inside was a bottle of roasted chick peas. I've had some as I was writing this and love them. Have to figure out how to make them. Maybe I should have grabbed a bag of chickpeas from the market too!

There is also a jar of pea flour. I have to try that with my pan fried cod. It might be a great substitute for wheat flour.

Also there was a white chocolate lentil bark, a bag of wheat free Bean brownie mix and recipe cards.


It was a fun, informative and delicious night. With my new lifestyle, I'll be using pulses (what I used to refer to as beans) more and more and look forward to trying many of the recipes on the Pulse Canada website, both side dishes and mains.

Of course when I do, I'll be posting them in the recipe section of this website.

I took the Pulse Pledge. One half a cup of pulse per week for ten weeks. Michael Smith did too.

Here is CBC's coverage of the event ... I walk by at the 0:55 second mark.

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